Saturday, April 30, 2011

FW: What Are We to Make of the “Beatification” of Pope John Paul II?

AC 21…


Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
Posted on: Saturday, April 30, 2011 9:18 AM
Author: Paul T. McCain
Subject: What Are We to Make of the "Beatification" of Pope John Paul II?


You may have noticed numerous news reports about the beatification of Pope John Paul II. What are we Lutherans to make of this? The short answer is simply: we do not recognize, nor can we accept, any of the theology or practice surrounding the Roman Catholic Church's "cult of the saints" as it is known in our Lutheran Confessions.

Here is what the Augsburg Confession, Art. 21 has to say about the Roman system of saints:

The memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling, as the Emperor may follow the example of David in making war to drive away the Turk from his country. 2] For both are kings. But the Scripture teaches not the invocation of saints or to ask help of saints, since it sets before us the one Christ as the Mediator, Propitiation, High Priest, and Intercessor. 3] He is to be prayed to, and has promised that He will hear our prayer; and this worship He approves above all, to wit, that in all afflictions He be called upon, 1 John 2:1: 4] If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, etc.

If you would like to read what we Lutherans believe, teach and confess about this issue, please read the following articles from the Book of Concord: The Apology [Defense] of the Augsburg Confession, Article 21; and The Smalcald Articles, Invocation of the Saints.

The practice of beatification is premised on the fact that we can never know, for a certainty, in this life whether or not a person was ever actually saved by God's grace. This "monster of uncertainty" plagues both the Roman communion and, ironically, is the basis for many of the "decisions for Christ" that we witness among Evangelicals, who lack the concrete assurance of God's grace, because they simply do not trust and believe that the objective promises of the Gospel are actually given, conferred, bestowed [use whatever word you want] on the individual Christian. We know that God does this through His Holy Word and Sacraments.

It is good for us to understand what "beatification" means in the Roman communion. Here is how the Vatican explains it, on their web site:

Throughout her history, the Church has always celebrated holiness as an expression of the "wonderful things" the Lord works in the life of his People. In response to sensibilities and historical contexts, the Church has paid special attention to the liturgical forms and procedures in which praise to the Most High is expressed and new life given to the faith and piety of the faithful.

These procedures and the significant wealth of such rites have also been carefully studied by the Church in light of the most recent ecclesial knowledge for a more incisive understanding and a more cogent effect of the very nature of holiness, which the Church celebrates with the rites of Beatification and Canonization.

To this end, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has introduced important new procedures for Beatifications.

I. Historical-juridical premise

1. In the first millennium of the Church's existence, the cult of Martyrs and later of Confessors of the Faith was regulated by the various particular Churches. On the occasion of a Synod, the Bishops, individually or collegially, would authorize new particular cults that began with the elevatio or translatio corporis [the body was exhumed and transferred]. These acts subsequently became known as "episcopal canonizations" or "particular canonizations" because they involved directly only the local Church (Benedict XIV, "Magister" of the Causes of Saints, will make episcopal canonization equivalent to beatification, which consists in the concession [permissio] of a cult "pro aliquibus determinatis locis" [De Servorum Dei beatificatione et beatorum canonizatione, Prato, 1839, L.I, ch. 31, 4, p. 196]).

In the 11th century, the principle that as universal Pastor of the Church the Roman Pontiff alone has the authority to prescribe a public devotion began to gain ground, both in the particular Churches and the universal Church. With a Letter to the King and Bishops of Sweden, Alexander III asserted the Pope's authority to confer the title of Saint and the relevant public cult. This norm became a universal law with Gregory IX in 1234.

In the 14th century, the Holy See began to authorize cults limited to specific places and to certain Servants of God whose canonization cause had not yet been initiated or had not yet reached its conclusion. This concession, with a view to future Canonization, is at the origin of Beatification.

After Sixtus IV (1483), Servants of God to whom a limited cult was granted were known as Blesseds. A definitive juridical distinction was thereby made between the titles of Saint and Blessed, which in the Middle Ages had been used loosely.

The concession of a local devotion was rendered official and communicated to those concerned in an Apostolic Letter in the form of a Brief, which the local Bishop implemented auctoritate apostolica.

After the establishment of the Congregation for Rites (1588) by Sixtus V, the Pope continued to permit limited cults (Missa et Officium) to culminate in Canonization. Procedures were gradually clarified and refined until they developed into the norms in force today, which were promulgated in 1983.

2. The teaching on the institution of Beatification ("Doctores… tradunt Beatificationem esse actum, quo Summus Romanus Pontifex indulgendo permittit aliquem Dei Servum coli posse in aliqua Provincia, Dioecesi Civitate, aut Religiosa Familia Cultu quodam determinato, ac Beatorum proprio, usquequo ad solemnem eius Canonizationem deveniatur" [Benedictus XIV, L.I, ch. 39, 5, p. 262]), and Canonization (ibid., p. 263) has remained substantially unchanged down the centuries. The distinction between them (I. Noval, Commentarium Codicis Juris Canonici, Lib. IV De Processibus, pars II, Augustae Taurinorum-Romae, 1932, p. 7), which is adequately expressed in the respective proclamatory or constitutive formulas, is clear and essential.

Canonization is the supreme glorification by the Church of a Servant of God raised to the honours of the altar with a decree declared definitive and preceptive for the whole Church, involving the solemn Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff.

This is expressed unequivocally in the formula: "Ad honorem Sanctae et Individuae Trnitatis… auctoritate Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli ac Nostra… Beatum N. N. Sanctum esse decernimus ac definimus, ac Sanctorum Catalogo adscribimus, statuentes eum in universa Ecclesia inter Sanctos pia devotione recoli debere".

Beatification, on the other hand, consists in the concession of a public cult in the form of an indult and limited to a Servant of God whose virtues to a heroic degree, or Martyrdom, have been duly recognized, as is pointed out by the respective formula:  "…facultatem facimus ut Venerabilis Servus Dei N. N. Beati nomine in posterum appelletur, eiusque festum… in locis ac modis iure statutis quotannis celebrari possit".

II. The rites of Beatification down the centuries

The rites and ceremonies for Beatification and Canonization, as well as the formulas to be pronounced and other minor details, have been expressed in different ways, although they have essentially remained in doctrinal continuity. Here we point out four stages that solely concern the institution of Beatification:

a) Before 1662: The Pope, conceding a local cult (beatification), normally left to those concerned (Promoters of the Cause, the Local Ordinary) the possibility of choosing the day, venue and form in which to solemnize the event of the Beatification that had occurred and to inaugurate the new cult (Missa et Officium).

It could also happen in certain monasteries that no external solemnity was celebrated on the occasion of the Beatification, but the feast of the new Blessed was commemorated on the day of the year established by the liturgical calendar.

b) From 1662 to 1968: The first Beatification in solemn form was that of St Francis de Sales, desired by Alexander VII. The rite took place in St Peter's Basilica in two separate phases.

The first was in the morning of 8 January 1662 when the actual rite of Beatification was celebrated. The Apostolic Brief, dated 28 December 1661, was read out, with which the Pope conferred upon him the title of Blessed and the relative liturgical honours; the celebration of solemn Mass followed, at which the Bishop of Soissons presided. It was subsequently usual for a Canonical Bishop of the Vatican Chapter to preside at the Eucharistic celebration.

The main role in this morning rite was played by the Sacred Congregation for Rites and the Vatican Chapter; the second phase took place in the afternoon of the same day when the Pope entered the Basilica to venerate the new Blessed and to receive the plenary indulgence which he himself had bestowed upon the faithful who visited the Basilica that day.

The practice begun by Alexander VII remained virtually unchanged until 1968, when the last Beatification in accordance with that rite was celebrated (cf. F. Veraja, La Beatificazione. Storia, problemi, prospettive, Rome, ed. Congregation for the Causes of Saints, 1983, pp. 7-111).

c) From 1971 to 2004: With the Beatification of St Maximilian Kolbe (d. 1941), celebrated on the morning of 17 October 1971, Paul VI introduced the important innovation of presiding personally at the rite of Beatification. Thus, the afternoon ceremony, during which the Holy Father visited the Basilica to venerate the new Blessed and receive the plenary indulgence, was abolished.

For the first time, a "beatification formula" was drafted that was read by the Pope himself. Until then, the Congregation for Rites had been of the opinion that "even if the Pope intervened, there must be a clear distinction in solemnity between canonization and beatification" (wrote Bishop Antonelli, Secretary of the Dicastery:  Archives of the Congregation, V AR 107/966 in G. Stano, Il rito della Beatificazione da Alessandro VII ai nostri giorni, in Miscellanea per il quarto Centenario della Congregazione della Cause dei Santi [1588-1988], Vatican City, 1988, p. 401).

In successive Beatifications (1972, 1974, 1975), the Pope, present at the celebration, received the peroratio and spoke the formula of beatification but did not celebrate Mass. At most, it was the Bishop of the new Blessed's Diocese who presided at the Eucharistic celebration. The peroratio was drafted by the Prefect of the Secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints or also by the diocesan Bishop who presided at the Eucharistic celebration.

With the Beatification on 19 October 1975, the Pope resumed the practice of presiding at the Mass and continued to do so until 2004.

d) As from 2005: Pope Benedict XVI has established that Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, should preside at the rites of Beatification on 14 May 2005. "De mandato Summi Pontificis", the Cardinal read the Apostolic Letter with which the Pope conceded the title of Blessed to two Venerable Servants of God. Prior to this, the Bishops of the new Blesseds' Dioceses briefly summed up their lives. Cardinal Józef Glemp, diocesan Archbishop, Primate of Poland, presided at the Beatification rites in Warsaw, Poland, on 19 June 2005

III. Criteria for the rite of future Beatifications

The Holy Father Benedict XVI's recent decision not to preside personally at Beatification rites is a response to the widely felt need to:

i) give greater emphasis in the celebration to the substantial difference between Beatification and Canonization; and

ii) to involve the particular Churches more visibly in the Beatification rites of their respective Servants of God.

It became clear in the many Beatifications celebrated by John Paul lI in every part of the world that it is more pastorally suitable that Beatifications take place preferably in the particular Churches, while allowing for the possible choice of Rome for special reasons to be assessed, case by case, by the Secretariat of State.

Wherever Beatifications take place, in Rome or elsewhere, it is necessary to show clearly that every Beatification is an act of the Roman Pontiff, who thus permits ("facultatem facimus" in the current beatification formula) the local cult of a Servant of God, making his decision public in an Apostolic Letter.

Rites of Beatification and Canonization are already in themselves quite different; nonetheless, the fact that from 1971 onwards the Holy Father generally presided at them has almost blinded people to the substantial difference between the two institutions.

IV. Practical guidelines for the rite of Beatification

The directives that follow, therefore, concern rites of Beatification celebrated either in Rome or outside it, at which the Holy Father does not normally preside but at which he can always choose to preside in the circumstances and ways he may deem appropriate.

a) Rites of Beatification in particular Churches:

It is opportune from now on that rites of Beatification should take place in the Diocese that has promoted the new Blessed's cause, or in any other more suitable place in the same Ecclesiastical Province or Region.

The date and time of the Beatification as well as the possible grouping together of Servants of God from different Dioceses will be decided by the diocesan Bishop (or diocesan Bishops) and the Promoters of the Cause (or Causes) with the Secretariat of State, as has been done until now.

The Beatification rite that will take place during a liturgical celebration will begin with the presentation to the Assembly of the essential biographical traits of the future Blessed. This presentation will normally be made by the diocesan Bishop, or should there be several Servants of God, by the respective diocesan Bishops, as was done at the Beatification on 14 May in St Peter's Basilica.

The Holy Father will appoint a Representative who will officially read the Apostolic Letter with which the Roman Pontiff himself concedes the title and honours of a Blessed to the Servant of God in question. The Pope's Representative will normally be the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

In accordance with the most recent practices, the rite of Beatification will take place during the Eucharistic celebration, precisely after the penitential rite and before the singing of the "Gloria".
However, specific local reasons might suggest that the rite take place during a celebration of the Word of God or Liturgy of the Hours. In the Pontificate of John Paul II, a few Beatifications were occasionally celebrated during First Vespers on Sunday or on a Solemnity.

It is preferable that the Papal Representative or Diocesan Bishop (or one of the Diocesan Bishops when Blesseds come from different Dioceses) preside at the liturgical celebration in honour of the new Blessed. The Secretariat of State will decide on this, after hearing the opinion of all parties concerned.

The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff will coordinate with the particular Churches everything concerning the rite of Beatification.

b) Rites of Beatification in Rome

The parties concerned (Bishops and Promoters of the Cause) may ask the Secretariat of State for the rite of Beatification of a "non-Roman" Servant of God to take place in Rome rather than in the particular Church to which he or she belonged. The Secretariat of State will assess the reasons for this request. The same criteria which regulate the rites of Beatification that take place in Rome are applicable to rites taking place outside Rome.

The use of "booklets" is recommended. They should continue to be prepared by the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff in order to enable the faithful to participate better in the celebration.

Lastly, it seems fitting that the rite of Beatification be substantially the same wherever it is celebrated. It is therefore to be hoped that an "Ordo Beatificationis et Canonizationis" may be drafted as soon as possible, edited by the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff in agreement with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

FW: “Witness, Mercy, Life Together”: A Hymn (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)



Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Friday, April 29, 2011 12:10 PM
Author: Charles Henrickson
Subject: "Witness, Mercy, Life Together": A Hymn (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)


President Harrison's "Emphasis for the Church" is summed up in three terms, "Witness, Mercy, Life Together" (Martyria, Diakonia, Koinonia are the related Greek terms). The President's Office has set up a blog,, to carry forward the theme of "Witness, Mercy, Life Together: In Christ, for the Church and the World."

I'm going to be referring to this threefold emphasis in my preaching over the coming weeks, as I start a sermon series on the Book of Acts. So I thought it would be good to have a hymn to accompany the series. I'm aware that there are already a couple of hymns that fit the emphasis, "God's Redeemed, Beloved and Holy" (by Pr. Stephen Starke) and "Witness, Mercy, Life Together" (by Pr. Alan Kornacki). But I thought I'd try my hand at writing one myself. The result is below.

For a tune, I'm suggesting Rex gloriae (LSB 494, 583). Click the music link and sing along! (An alternative tune could be O Durchbrecher (LSB 409, 531).)

If anybody wants to use this hymn, I've got it on a half-sheet insert (front and back), and I could send you the file attachment upon request. My e-mail address:

- – - – -

Witness, Mercy, Life Together

Witness, Mercy, Life Together,
Life in Christ, for Church and world;
Witness, Mercy, Life Together–
This shall be our flag unfurled!
Gathered, going, speaking, serving,
New life flowing from our Lord;
He shall feed us, onward lead us,
By His own life-giving Word.

Christ came down and dwelt among us,
Law and Prophets to fulfill;
Sent to save a world of sinners,
Jesus did the Father's will.
Dying, rising, then ascending,
Christ is making all things new;
Pouring out His Spirit on us,
Christ now gives us work to do.

Witness bearing, Martyria,
Bold proclaiming of the truth;
Tongues of fire on each believer,
Now as in the Church's youth.
Preaching, teaching, faith confessing,
Gospel reaching far and near;
Lord, we pray that You would open
Mouths to speak and ears to hear.

Mercy works, Diakonia,
Service done in Jesus' name;
Hearts so moved with His compassion
For the poor, the weak, the lame.
Giving, caring, helping, healing,
Love that takes the lower place;
May our lives of humble service
Show the riches of God's grace.

Life Together, Koinonia,
Sharing in a common birth;
Fellowship, with Christ the center,
We His body here on earth.
Growing, bearing fruit, forgiving,
Brothers living all as one;
Breaking bread, the Lord's Communion,
Life eternal now begun.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Triune God, whom we adore,
Source of all the Church's blessings,
Praise to You forevermore!
Guarding, guiding, still providing,
For our mission is Your own:
Witness, Mercy, Life Together–
Glory be to You alone!

- – - – -

Text: © 2011 Charles Henrickson
Tune: REX GLORIAE (LSB 494, 583) 87 87 D
Alternate tune: O DURCHBRECHER (LSB 409, 531)

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - New organ video series available online

Victimae Paschali - Christians, to the Paschal Victim

FW: What is left to pass on?

Doctrine and practice…


Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Thursday, April 28, 2011 5:20 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: What is left to pass on?


In First Corinthians we hear a solemn and serious St. Paul describe the chain of custody with respect to the Lord's Supper.  "That which I received from the Lord, I passed on to you..."  This is legal language which brings with it the idea that what St. Paul received was not his to own or change but only His to use and bequeath to those who are planted in faith by the Spirit.  Now St. Paul also speaks somberly about departing from the sacred deposit.  2 Thes. 3:6 (ESV)  Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.  Twice he charges the young Pastor Timothy about guarding and protecting this sacred tradition. 1 Tim. 6:20 (ESV)  O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge,"  . . . 2 Tim. 1:14 (ESV)  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

It is clear from both of these that this tradition or sacred deposit is both doctrinal and liturgical.  On on hand it refers to the teaching of Jesus, contained within the Scriptures and including the Scriptures that point to Christ (Old Testament).  This is the "apostles teaching" of Acts 2 and yet, like Acts 2, it is not propositional truth but efficacious Word that calls into being the fellowship, empowers the prayerful assembly, and provides the context for the liturgical expression of this doctrinal content in the Eucharist (the Breaking of the Bread).  We have spent a good deal of time in modern Christianity, and among many in Lutheranism, trying to separate the doctrinal truth from its liturgical expression (the so-called style vs substance debate).  You find no hint of this in St. Paul or in the practice of the Church (both in Scripture and in the evidence of early church history).

So, fast forward to 2011, and let us survey the situation among us.  What is it that St. Paul would have us pass on?  What is the sacred deposit or tradition that we must guard from the irreverent babble of modern spirituality?  If we separate style from substance, we pass only part of what St. Paul speaks of.  If we would divorce doctrinal truth from its liturgical expression, when we pass on intellectual content that has no recognizable practice (speaking one thing and doing another).

I have become more and more concerned that the way we treat the outward expression of the doctrinal truth is handicapping the future generations of Lutheran Christians.  They end up not really knowing who they are, or, knowing in theory what they believe but without a clear and consistent idea of how that truth calls into being or is expression by the assembly that is the Church.  It seems to me that when we divorce the two from their divinely intended marriage, we end up with much less than half the equation that St. Paul seems to think is the God intended fullness -- both mandated and essential to the faith and life of the Church and those within her gates.

What do we have to pass on if the creeds cease to be part of the vocabulary, memory, and liturgical language of the Church?  This is the crisis of catechesis in which personal authority determines truth vs the Spirit who teaches us to believe, teach, and confess that teaching of Jesus and Scripture.  What do we have to pass on if the Confessions are merely truth statements and not the language which both defines and guides us as a Church both in witness and in worship?  I am more and more of the opinion that the Reformation was both a liturgical movement as well as a reform movement seeking to restore the Gospel to its primacy within the Church.  I am amazed that the more I read the Lutheran Confessions, the more I see in them liturgical identity, liturgical formulation, and concern for how the practice of the Church is defined by her doctrine and faith.

What do we have to pass on if the liturgy has become a free for all of change, contradiction, and personal whim or taste?  When we fail to teach the church's song to those who come after us, we give them a present without a past and we distort what they have to pass on to those who come after them.  When their faith lacks a common liturgical expression, they are left victims or orphans amid the pendulum swings of piety and the sweep of liturgical and non-liturgical worship settings and forms.  It would be like leaving our children with an idea of Christmas but without the familiar rituals and practices that shape the celebration of this holy day and holiday.  It would be like passing down grandma's jewelry boxes but without the actual pearls and precious gems to wear.  It would be like talking about fireworks but never looking up into the night sky and seeing them explode on the Fourth of July.  The Christian faith is not an idea or even an ideology.  It is doctrine and its liturgical expression in which and through which Christ is present to bestow the gifts of His promise and the graces won by His suffering and death and rising again.

It seems to me that St. Paul's words about the tradition and sacred deposit received and passed on require us to connect both doctrine and its liturgical expression (style and substance) or else we have failed to pass on anything remotely resembling what the Lord gave to His Church.  It is our responsibility to both guard against losing the truth and the means of grace AND to be faithful in our witness to Christ and it is no less than St. Paul who connects the two:  As often as we eat of this bread and drink of this cup, we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes...

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FW: Good Shepherd Institute April 2011 Newsletter

From GSI and Lutheran Kantor…


Feed: Lutheran Kantor
Posted on: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:40 PM
Author: Chris
Subject: Good Shepherd Institute April 2011 Newsletter


If you've been a visitor to this site over the past few years, you'll find I often reference the work of the Good Shepherd Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary.  They have been a real blessing to me in my growth as a church musician.

One of the things I look forward to from the Institute is their semi-annual newsletter.  The following email from Kantor Resch provides info on what to look for.  Definitely download a copy.  And, you'll get to read more about this year's Conference theme.  Just a hint: it is tangentially related to a certain "royal" event happening this Friday.

GSI Newsletter

Dear Friends:

I am happy to announce that the April issue of HIS VOICE is now available to download. This is the official electronic newsletter for the Good Shepherd Institute, and you will find it located at our website His Voice.

In this issue, you will find out about the upcoming Good Shepherd Institute Conference and the Organist Workshop. Articles on church music resources are provided by Kantor Kevin Hildebrand. Professor John Pless gives commentary on new publications for pastoral theology, while Dr. Daniel Zager makes recommendations on books and sacred music recordings.

You may also download the April issue by clicking here.

If you believe other people would benefit from receiving an email inviting them to explore His Voice, send an email to Please include their email addressed, first and last names.

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Richard Resch

You just finished reading Good Shepherd Institute April 2011 Newsletter! Consider leaving a comment!

Related posts:

  1. His Voice – Newsletter of Good Shepherd Institute
  2. Good Shepherd Institute
  3. 2008 Organist Workshops

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Liturgy and Hymnody Review: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

Messiah: Selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship. Pittsburgh: Crown and Covenant Publications, 2010. Audio CD. $15.00. (H) 

Meditation: Selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship. Pittsburgh: Crown and Covenant Publications, 2010. Audio CD. $15.00. (H)

Our previous review of The Book of Psalms for Worship  (hereafter BPW) is one of QBR's most popular blog posts. (See

We were pleased to receive two more CDs of recordings of selections from this new Psalter.

And we have already found opportunities to put them to use.

Divine Service on Maundy Thursday concludes with the Stripping of the Altar and Psalm 22.

Last week, our congregation sang Psalm 22 to the tune VENI EMMANUEL, 22B in BPW, LSB 357. And yes, we sang all fourteen stanzas, twice the length of the 12th Century text, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," based on The Great "O Antiphons."

The congregation knew the tune well because of its use in Advent and at Christmas. It helped tie Holy Week and Lent to the other preparatory season of Advent. And we had plenty of time to remove the Communionware, candlabra, paraments, books, and linens in preparation for Good Friday.

Our bulletin included the following:
Stripping of the Altar
The communion vessels are reverently removed from the altar, the altar is stripped, and the chancel is cleared in preparation for the solemn services of Good Friday.

 Psalm 22 is sung using a familiar hymn tune (next pages)

Psalm 22 is taken from The Book of Psalms for Worship
©2009 Crown and Covenant Publications,
7408 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208-2531.
Used by permission.
Crown and Covenant is generous with their legal copyright usage. See BPW (ii, 559) for more details or visit the publisher's website for long-term use.

Meditation records "Psalm 119 sung in its entirety from The Book of Psalms for Worship. Includes selections 119A through 119W" (publisher's website).

I like the variety in arrangements on this recording. Listeners won't be mere listeners for long, as they will begin singing along with the four part harmony, or the Trios, Duets, and Solos. (One typo in the liner notes on the Trios section: 199V should be 119 V.)

Singing Psalm 119A through 119W in BPW seems less daunting than reciting it without accompaniment. This Psalm seems to use some new-to-me "workhorse tunes" that do their job well of supporting the text. I would be very interested in hearing the history behind them as compositions, as a "hymnal companion" resource often provides. 

Among the notable pairings of text and tune are 119J with EVENTIDE, 119N and TALLIS' CANON, 119Q with NETTLETON, 119S and COVENTRY CAROL, 119U with HAMBURG, and 119V and HURSLEY. These tunes are sufficiently well-known that congregations familiar with these tunes could immediately pick up these portions of Psalm 119 and sing joyfully.

Messiah includes "Messianic psalms from The Book of Psalms for Worship. Includes selections 89D, 61B, 89A, 132B, 8A, 2D, 91C, 41B, 40A, 22B, 22C, 16D, 20B, 21A, 47C, 110D, 45A, 72A, 24A, 98A, 99A, 102D, 21B, 22E, 96B, 72B, 72C, and 118E. Selections are performed by Tim and Kaylee McCracken" (publisher's website).

Tim McCracken and his daughter Kaylee sound wonderful together. This recording gives evidence of regular worship together at church and home. Tim on both Tenor and Bass and Kaylee on both Soprano and Alto provide a unique listening experience. There is a slight distortion to the recording that is quite pleasing and rather heavenly.

Psalm 22, of course is referenced in the New Testament at Matthew 27:35, 29, and 43; Mark 15:24, and 34; Luke 23:34; John 19:24; and Philippians 3:2. Those references are also listed for the rest of this recording's Messianic Psalms inside the CD case.

Tunes on this recording will encourage congregations and musicians to expand their musical repertoire. Few were familiar to me with the exception of 22B's VENI EMMANUEL, 47C's GOD REST YOU MERRY, 110D's TERRA BEATA, 72A's TRURO, 24A's TO GOD BE THE GLORY, 21B's ELLACOMBE, and 72B's DUKE STREET.

It appears that tunes are selected for some Psalm texts to provide similar connotations to singing historic hymns (EVENTIDE, NETTLETON, ELLACOMBE, DUKE STREET). Often, in my opinion, the psalm text chosen is better than the original hymn text or commonly used hymn text (TERRA BEATA, TRURO, TO GOD, etc.)

We would love to see Hallel and Faithfulness, other recordings of selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship.

Martin Luther recommended that Christians sing more psalms and that medieval Graduals and Introits, both parts of psalms,  could be replaced by whole psalms. I agree. Lutheran Christians have opportunities to pray psalms at Matins, Morning Prayer, Vespers, Evening Prayer, and Compline. And we should avail ourselves of every opportunity.

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

FW: Go to the Seminary!

Seuss and Harrison say…


Feed: Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison
Posted on: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 6:10 AM
Author: Rev. Matt Harrison
Subject: Go to the Seminary!


Harrison: Time to head to the seminary.


Joe Schmo - Wannabe Pastor: Really?


Harrison: Yes, really.


Schmo: But I'm hearing that guys are going to the sem, yet there are many who are not receiving calls at the end of their four years of study?


Harrison: It is true that the past couple of years the number of graduates from our two seminaries has exceeded available calls. HOWEVER, all or nearly all of the students desiring to serve in a parish have been placed in the course of the months following graduation. I myself had to wait several months to be placed, so hey... be confident that the Lord will bless. He will!


Schmo: Are you SURE about that? What if I go through all the trouble of moving, perhaps selling my house, moving my wife and kids, and all that with no guarantee of a call at the end?


Harrison: The economy won't remain in the tank forever. In fact, the number of calling congregations across the Missouri Synod increased significantly over the past year. The UNOFFICIAL word right now is that the number of men who will have to wait to be placed will be much fewer than last year. And I'm confident that with a little time, all will be placed.


Schmo: But what are the long term trends?


Harrison: There are a number of factors here, but a couple of things make me rather optimistic about the need. Right now and well into the next two decades, the class size of retiring pastors are quite large. The raw data show that we are going to need to replace some 300 retiring clergy per year for some time to come. There are factors affecting this need currently, such as retiring clergy continuing to serve on a part-time basis, or small congregations choosing to employ a retired man rather than pay a full salary. But the bottom line is that the need long term will be significant. There will also continue to be the need for church planters.


Schmo: O.K. But the economy still worries me.


Harrison: Fair enough. But there have been times in the Synod's history when hundreds of men were without calls. We are nowhere near that challenge at the moment. Moreover, although the economy in certain states is particularly challenging, still, in many rural/farming communities there is a significant economic upswing occurring, driven by record high prices for corn and soybeans. The Lord will provide.


Schmo: But the housing market is a problem, no?


Harrison: Yes, true. There have been better times to sell and move. But hey, Ft. Wayne remains one of the lowest priced housing markets in the country, and it is definitely a buyers' market in St. Louis - which is a huge and very diverse market. Many Ft. Wayne students live in low cost government subsidized housing, and the St. Louis sem has married student housing right on campus.


Schmo: But can't I just do my seminary education via distance learning?


Harrison: It is true that the seminaries offer distance education for certain specific circumstances, where a man intends perhaps to be bi-vocational. Such programs offer flexibility needed for some local challenges. But there is no substitute for a thorough, residential education. While distance opportunities are appropriate for some, a distance education may also limit your ability to serve in the maximum number of circumstances in the future.


Schmo: So what's the great benefit of a residential education?


Harrison: There is absolutely no substitute for total immersion in a community of hundreds of men and women (deaconess students) all totally committed to studying the sacred texts of holy scripture. There is no substitute for rigorous language study done in residence, study that will bless your ministry for decades to come. There is no substitute for the learning that occurs shoulder to shoulder with professors, students, graduate students, on burning topics of the day. We have the two finest Lutheran seminaries in the world. Both are in good shape financially. The St. Louis sem has undergone marvelous renovation of the physical plant thanks to the work of President Meyer and the staff. The Ft. Wayne seminary boasts a fabulous new library facility, which will open soon. The faculties boast many men who are leading scholars in their field of study, from historical theology to doctrinal theology, to exegesis and practical theology.


Schmo: But how do I know this step is for me?


Harrison: You can only find out by inquiring. If you have a good reputation in your home parish, if you love the bible and love people, if you have the nascent tools to be a leader, if you have a passion to know more about Christ, and share that knowledge with people who need to know Jesus, contact the seminaries and ask for an application. The process will assist you in assessing your potential. There are great folks at the sem with lots of experience in helping men and women, working with their current realities, while honoring their vocations as father or mother. And once you've been accepted, you can always postpone for a year or so, or go when the moment is right.


Schmo: Are there other people like me at the sem?


Harrison: Indeed there are. Many. And there are profs too who have gone through exactly what you are going through. And you will find a community made up of diverse individuals asking many different questions, hungry for knowledge of the scriptures and the Lutheran confessions. There will be people at the sem from all over the world and your eyes will be opened to a whole new world, the world of the church of Christ which spans the globe and the centuries.


Schmo: But I'm still nervous!


Harrison: You should be nervous! This is a huge step. And you are contemplating a vocation which is difficult but also hugely rewarding. There are risks, but there are also fantastic blessings. I can not find the words to express how much I've enjoyed my time serving in the parish. People let you into their lives at their worst moments, and at their most joyous moments. To bring the forgiveness and comfort in Christ, to share in new lives beginning in baptism, to teach young people to love Christ, to minister to the sick and dying, are honors which few Christians get to experience. And the opportunities to take Christ into the surrounding community are legion!


Schmo: That sounds like a pretty cool job!


Harrison: It is! There are few jobs where you are expected to study the scriptures and related texts, and then get the chance to directly apply what you've learned from God's word during the week, and every Sunday morning in the context of real lives and people. Seminary teaches you how to study as well as all the basics you need to serve Christ in his people.


Schmo: I guess I'd better do some more praying about this.


Harrison: Indeed, dear friend. And be assured that I'm praying for you too. Jesus said task number one in mission is to "pray the Lord of the harvest send workers." And I'm praying that directly with YOU in mind. H.C. Schwan, president of the Synod from 1878 to 1899 said that you'd better watch out if you "pray the Lord of the harvest send workers." Why? Because you'll soon find that the Lord sends YOU! As you pray, I'd suggest you read St. Paul's Pastoral Epistles and let them saturate your thoughts and prayers (I & II Timothy and Titus).


There is no need, I'm convinced, that the Missouri Synod should decline. We have a worldwide moment before us. It will require fidelity to the Scriptures and Lutheran teaching, zeal for the gospel of Christ, openness to diverse cultures, mercy for those hurting, and love for the church. And, it will require a GREAT seminary trained ministerium.


Go to the sem!


Matt Harrison



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FW: Yours Is A Different Spirit Than Ours



Feed: Gnesio
Posted on: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 5:40 AM
Author: Gnesio
Subject: Yours Is A Different Spirit Than Ours


In 1529, Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, instituted a colloquy at Marburg between Luther and his followers and fellow combatants in the Reformation, on the one hand, and Zwingli and some of his followers, on the other. At first it seemed that the desired object of brotherly and ecclesiastical union could really be attained; for the Swiss made one concession after the other. But the movement was brought to a halt at the discussion of the doctrine of the Lord's Supper. For the sake of peace the Swiss, indeed, offered to speak like Luther concerning the Substantial presence of the true body and the true blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper, only they would understand by that a spiritual presence. Spite of this the Swiss desired with great earnestness — Zwingli even with tears in his eyes — that brotherly and ecclesiastical fellowship be not refused them on account of this single difference.

What did Luther do on this occasion? He had soon noticed that the Swiss were not acting quite honestly. That his Suspicion was not without foundation was revealed, you know, six months later, when Zwingli overthrew the entire agreement and denied all concessions which he had made at Marburg. Accordingly, Luther said to Zwingli: "Yours is a different spirit from ours." This winged word, this memorable, world-renowned dictum of Luther, struck the heart of Zwingli and his followers with the force of lightning. Zwingli speaks of the effect in a letter to his friend Dr. Propst, pastor at Bremen. He relates that whenever he repeated those words of Luther to himself, — and he did that often, — he felt their consuming force. Why? He and his friends knew they were beaten; they felt that they stood revealed and had to uncover their insincere aim of setting up a mere external union.

What was Luther's meaning when he uttered those words: "Yours is a different spirit from ours"? Unquestionably this: "If you poor mortals were merely caught in an error because of your human weakness, we could, yea, we would have to, regard you as weak, erring brethren, but still as our brethren, because you would surely be soon rid of this single error of yours. But that is not the case; the difference between you and us is this, that yours is a different spirit."

What spirit did Luther find lacking in the Swiss? Unquestionably the spirit to which the Lord refers when He says, Matt. 18,3: "Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Indeed, my friends, that is the spirit which Zwingli and his followers lacked and which those who follow in his footsteps in our day are still lacking. It is the spirit of childlike simplicity which takes the Father in heaven by His words. The spirit of the Zwinglian, Calvinist, and unionistic churches is nothing else than the rationalistic spirit, the spirit of doubt and uncertainty which, like unenlightened, unregenerate Nicodemus, queries before every mystery of the Holy Scriptures: "How can these things be?" John 3, 9. That passes my comprehension; that is contrary to my reason. When people of this character make concessions, they give you no assurance of reliability. This is plainly shown by their entering into union with people who teach doctrines contrary to their own. Moreover, as a rule, they betray that they are ashamed of their religion themselves and are unwilling to admit with their mouths as much as they are forced to admit in their hearts.

On the other hand, the spirit of Luther and of the entire genuine Lutheran Church is the spirit of childlike simplicity, the spirit of faith, the spirit that submits to the Word of God and takes human reason captive under the wisdom from on high. It is the spirit that finds expression in one of our glorious hymns, in these words: —

What Thou hast spoken true must be;
Thou art almighty, and with Thee
Impossible is nothing.

Let no one who is unable to confess these words with the pious poet call himself a Lutheran; he belongs to the fanatical sects.
The characteristic mark of our Church is unquestioned submission to the divine Word, while our sectarian teachers are continually tossed about like the waves of the sea and betray the fact that they are not founded upon the rock of the Word of God. Now, every Church which lacks this spirit of childlike simplicity, even when professing the truth with the mouth, is not to be trusted.

from C.F.W. Walther, 'Law and Gospel, Seventeenth Evening Lecture' (February 6, 1885.)Read More

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FW: Plus ça change ("The more things change...)

Check the date below…


Feed: Gottesdienst Online
Posted on: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 11:33 PM
Author: Father Hollywood
Subject: Plus ça change ("The more things change...)


By Larry Beane

"All this skepticism, uncertainty, and experimenting has unfortunately unsettled only too many pastors in the church around us.  These pastors themselves have lost faith, more or less, in the divinely ordained means of grace.  They are casting about for new means and methods by which to reach and hold men.  They are experimenting with all sorts of novelties and attractions.  Their churches and services are becoming more and more places of entertainment.  They try to outbid and outdo one another in sensations calculated to draw.  And so the church, like Samson of old, is shorn of her locks, and is degraded to make sport for the Philistines of the world.  No true Lutheran pastor can stoop to such prostitution of his office and of his church."

~ G.H. Gerberding, 1903
The Lutheran Pastor,  p.124

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FW: [LetUsPray] Conference: Sing His Praise, His Love Declare



Subject: [LetUsPray] Conference: Sing His Praise, His Love Declare



Conference registration is OPEN and early-bird registration is drawing near for the worship conference co-hosted by St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, NE and Concordia University Nebraska. This three-day conference is July 27-29, 2011 for pastors and church musicians on worship-related topics. For more information and/or to register, visit

Early-bird registration fee is $95 through after April 30, 2011. After April 30th, the registration fee is $115.


Resources Received: Hymnody Resurgent!

Sojourn. The Water and the Blood: The Hymns of Isaac Watts, Volume II.  Louisville, KY: sojourn MUSIC, 2011. Downloadable Audio mp3 album. $12.00.  (LH)

FW: More thoughts on Tradition



Feed: May's Blog
Posted on: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 5:03 AM
Author: (Fr. Timothy D. May)
Subject: More thoughts on Tradition


Growing up as a Lutheran and not knowing much about the word I often heard complaints against "tradition." Traditions were apparently un-Scriptural and even anti-Scriptural. Years later, as a pastor with some time involved in attempting to transmit the faith to people, I come to a different understanding of the word.

In one sense, even those who claim to be anti-traditional in Christianity follow repeated beliefs and practices in line with their understanding of the faith. These simply may be different traditional beliefs and practices than those held and practiced by historic Christianity. Some "traditions" may be "newer" or "different" but they are no less "traditions." And they are almost never any more or less "Scriptural" than other traditions held by Christianity throughout the ages.

In a religious free society the tradition of anti-traditionalism has been so successful (anything "new" is equated with anything "good" whatever its source or end) that even those things that are firmly based in Scripture and the greater Tradition of the Church, even those traditions arising out of and passing on the very words of the Lord Himself, are revised or rejected. This means the simple act of teaching the Christian faith from one generation to the next within the Church often comes under attack. We are seeing other factors at work. Anti-traditionalism within Christianity is closely related to secularism. Christianity (Scripture, ministry, liturgy, etc.) gets "re-defined" in view of cultural expectations.

In view of Tradition in the Church being easily misunderstood two other questions arise. For example, today we hear of a re-awakening to Tradition but this re-awakening may only go as far back as the 1960s or 1970s. In other words, this period is seen as the moment to define all others. Although I am of Lutheran background I do not hold to the Reformation as the moment to define all others. This is because the Reformation did not come out of a vacuum. Nor does Church history begin then. There is a triumphalist tendency to relativize our understanding of all history in light of the Reformation. Even the Reformation has fallen victim to the Enlightenment and even whatever the 1960s and 1970s mean. Many of today's protestants are oblivious of the Reformation, much less the Early Church and the Middle Ages. We have come across a truly existential faith(?). An over-reaction the other way puts the whole faith in a Reformation box.

Although I am an heir of the Reformation I hold to a catholic view of the Tradition, that is, in view of the whole. Tradition is a good thing. There is an Early Church. There are the Middle Ages. Hebrew, Greek, Latin are good languages even if they are not my own. Because of its antiquity, Tradition is more than the ethnic backgrounds of my church body. Tradition is more than any historical period. Rather than being an obstacle to the faith the Scriptural Tradition is the connection to the faith, the continuity of the Church and her future. Looking back through Tradition the testimony of a multitude of witnesses is opened up to all who follow in the train of the crucified and risen Lord, who makes all things new through His own work of salvation, He, the Beginning and the End.

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FW: Until its gone...

What may be lost…


Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 6:15 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: Until its gone...


You have greater appreciation for what you have lost, even if it wasn't perfect, after you don't have it anymore. (Like Joni Mitchell said:  Now don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got till it's gone...)  More and more I have come to appreciate this wisdom and to see its pastoral application.

Its truth has been applied to an adult woman burying her elderly mother and father and still feeling the pain... or a single person still reeling from a separation and divorce that was forced upon them by an unrelenting and dissatisfied spouse... or a man wrestling with self-esteem and purpose after being let go from his job and finding another is easier to say than to do... or a child leaving home and then wondering if they might come back home "for a while..."   Or, a thousand other applications...

It is also true of institutions and communities -- like the Church. We spent years thinking the Common Service (1888) was in dire need of an update but little did we know that a little more than 100 years later there would be no common service even for congregations in the same Synod, using the same hymnal.  We decided to go for a common Lutheran hymnal in 1965 and 13 years later LBW was published and it was no common hymnal.  In fact, the divergent courses of the Lutheran bodies that once seemed generally headed the same direction  have resulted in very different paths and books.

We spent a good deal of time arguing with folks in the General Council and the various individual Synods only now to lament that the groups which were so close did not explore more seriously this unity.  Now we find ourselves with a hemoraging ELCA, a stagnant LCMS, an isolated WELS, and a host of new acronymns waiting in the wings.  What might have happened if the Krauths and Walthers had sat down over a beer and worked out their differences?  Alas, we will never know and the distance between us as Lutherans continues to grow.

Lutherans were once THE musical church with the likes of Buxtehude, Bach, Walther, Brahms, Schuetz, and a host of other equally distinguished cantors, composers, organists, etc.  Then we began building churches with no room or no budget for decent pipe organs and now a good many Lutheran congregations cannot even play the music of Bach and the Lutheran parish musicians.  Worse than this, we are closing down church music programs at our Concordias and we cannot even find an organist when we look for one.  We did not realize that we were sowing the seeds of our own musical demise; perhaps now it is too late to reclaim the title the "Church of Bach."

Our history gave birth to the consumate hymn -- the Lutheran chorale -- and a long list of fine hymn writers and composers of hymn tunes was our heritage.  Now it seems that the only new hymns we introduce are the ones we learn from the contemporary worship venues of other denominations or no denominations.  The sung liturgy was once a given among Lutherans and now it seems that some Lutherans are saying our future lies with spectator music led by praise bands and soloists.  What we lost was more than a hymn here and there but a whole theology of hymnody and church music.

We were once THE confessional church with more than the historical documents of confession.  We not only continued to believe what we confessed, but we taught it with enthusiasm and we normed our practice and shaped our identity from those confessions.  We are still confessional in terms of our history, we still claim to believe, teach, and practice the faith in a manner consistent with those historical documents, but in actuality we don't.  We either expand the definition of confessional or else we reduce confessionalism to a gospel principle that pretty much allows us to do what we want and to justify doing what we want.  Confessional doctrine and practice were once rather narrowly defined and clear and now they are rather broadly outlined and somewhat muddy in the specifics.

We are close enough to what we lost that we might reclaim it still.  The question is not "can we" but "do we want to..."  We are able -- it is within the realm of possibility -- but there seems to be a significant number of us Lutherans not so sure it is worth the time and effort.  In fact we have borrowed so much from so many that our whole idea of Lutheranism is a rather mixed bag (in congregation, circuit, district and synod).  The Lutheran way has become a by-law and constitutional discussion instead of what we believe, teach, and confess.  But... you don't realize what you have lost, until it is gone... 

I was always told that it is easy to criticize, tear down, and destroy but it is a difficult thing to act, build, and expand.  Nowhere is this more evident that the increasing number of Lutheran parishes that are shadows of their former selves.  Some years of inattention, some years of bitter conflict, some years of pastoral indifference, and what you are left with?  More of a past than a future.

I believe that we have the time and even some of the momentum to reclaim our heritage and honor its witness.  It is not too late.  I do not want simply to criticize and yet the first step in reclaiming our heritage  is to acknowledge what we have lost if we hope to gain any of it back (or even build upon it).  Speaking personally, I admit that I have learned by experience that it is ever so easy to stop things and ever so difficult to begin them again.  So, before it is too late, I hope and pray we will acknowledge what we have lost.  I think we need to make sure that we lose no more.  And, I hope and pray that we will stick it out and give our utmost for His highest... starting now.

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